There’s a common meme doing the rounds – the idea that “People don’t want stuff, they want experiences.”*
Pain, discomfort, shock, boredom, imposter syndrome, awkwardness, fear, being wrong, failing, ignorance, looking stupid. Your avoidance of these feelings is stopping you from a life greater than your wildest imagination.**
It’s become easier to buy an experience than make one. Which is to say, it easier than to become the kind of people who are able to reflect on our lives, all those experiences we’re already having, the same experiences through which we can become more healthy and fruitful (productive sounds too industrial but is a good word to use).
Blaise Pascal reflected:
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.^
Ryan Holiday quotes Pascal’s words in his book Stillness is the Key, but widens our perception of stillness so we might see where it is already present in our lives, those: moments of insight, giving our best, pride in completing something, training deliberately, watching snow fall. It’s something we all have the capacity for and can develop:
Stillness is the key to, well, just about everything. To being a better parent, a better artist, a better investor, a better athlete, a better scientist, a better human being. To unlocking all that we are capable of in life.^^
Stillness, then, is the ability to reflect upon what we are doing in life and also what is being done to us. We come to see how life is special, we may even say sacred:
By conscious self-awareness, we are connected to the mystery from which we emerge.*^
As I say, we all have stillness, reflection, awareness to some degree. Now it’s about how prepared we are to develop our stillness, noticing these moments in our lives and enlarging them. As with all things of substance and value, it takes time and effort.
And as with all the things that grow and develop us, journaling offers itself to us as a way of pondering in a more hopeful way.
(*From gapingvoid’s blog: The secret to living fully.)
(**From Ben Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(^Blaise Pascal, quoted in Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.)
(^^From Ryan Holiday’s Stillness is the Key.)
(*^From Alex McManus’ Makers of Fire.)